Updated: Apr 1, 2022
I am not, by nature, a defensive guy. But I feel compelled to begin this review of the 2022 Volkswagen Taos 1.5T SEL by pointing out previous positive reviews of the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL Premium , the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport 2.0T SEL and the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL with 4MOTION.
They are the existing part of a very likeable SUV lineup that now adds its smallest member, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos. On the surface, it seems very much like the "same sausage, different lengths" philosophy of so many automakers today. A range of sizes with essentially the same personality.
Except the Taos----doesn't have one.
It's not the engine. The 1.5-liter turbo 16-valve four-cylinder makes 158 horsepower, is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and delivers an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon city/36 highway.
It's not the size, actually a shade roomier on the inside than direct competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. And it's not the materials, all of which are very nice, in a cockpit that shows off VW's most current interior design.
No---it's the whole driving experience. Maybe it's because I had just been in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf TSI two weeks before, but every element that makes the Golf fun to drive feels as though it has had a double dose of Novocaine when I drove the Taos. And that's especially troubling since the Golf is leaving us at the end of this model year (only the high-performance GTI and R models will be coming to the USA) and it's clear that Volkswagen expects its small crossover to be the replacement for the Golf in terms of the first rung on the VW ladder of vehicles.
The base Taos S actually starts a grand less than the outgoing Golf, at $22,999. Our tester was the loaded SEL, though, with a base price of $31,490. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the standard equipment at that price.
The only extra-cost option on our tester was $1,200 for a panoramic power moonroof. So with $1,195 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2022 Volkswagen Taos 1.5T SEL is $33,885.
I'm not saying the Taos is a bad car. It's not. It's just---numb. If I were playing with my own money, I'd spend three grand more and step up to the Tiguan, which just feels more like a VW.
And are we sure there's no business plan for selling the next-gen Golf in America?